Zan Lyons - Blade Runner

ICA, London - 29 July, 2003

"It takes a brave and confident man to attempt this"

[Zan Lyons and Blade Runner] [Zan Lyons and Blade Runner]Having been thoroughly impressed by his support slot to Alec Empire at the Garage in 2001, Lyons was someone I'd marked up as requiring more homework. It just so happens that a glance at the ICA's eclectic schedule a year and a half later gave me the first opportunity to catch up since that first exposure.

Blade Runner is a genuine cinema classic. Its soundtrack by electronic composing legend Vangelis is almost as significant. It takes a brave and confident man then to attempt to rescore such a film, but that was the idea of tonight. It takes an even rarer ability to actually pull it off - which is precisely what Zan Lyons did here. Bands rescoring films that have influenced them is nothing new. The ICA itself has cultivated this niche market somewhat over recent years and we'd already seen a couple of hits and misses (Ladytron vs Tron an example of the latter).

 There's no doubt that Lyons' take on this was (particularly unlike the Ladytron effort) to try something different - to take the soundtrack into a new direction that was far enough away from the original score to warrant the attempt in the first place. The film was shown here without the sound but with subtitles. This in itself helped focus one on the visuals of the production - leaving the mind open and more susceptible to the new audio.

Lyons sublimely combined electronics and violin to impressive effect meaning that unwitting efforts to compare the Vangelis score with this new one were easily suppressed. So far, whatever the context, I've been nothing but very impressed by Zan Lyons. Another talent to sample at your earliest opportunity.

Rob Dyer